America 2006
Live Concert in Houston on December of 2005

Peter Schikeke as Himself; Peter Jacoby as the Conductor; Bill Walters as the Referee, Wine Stewart and also a Player; Giff Nielsen as the Commentator; and various local musicians.

Pieces included:
The Schleptet in Eb major
Iphigenia in Brooklyn
Unbegun Symphony
Fuga Meshuga
New Horizons in Music Appreciation (Football!)
Seasonings 1/2 tsp

Even though this man will never get the proper credit for being a superb comic, he could, at the very least, be talked about as a great composer and artist with the musical creations that he has been able to fashion with all the different musicians and local folks he has worked with. And I'm not sure that any folks in any orchestra across the country have ever sat back, and not enjoyed having fun with the work they do ... it's maddening, to see somethign so crazy and fun, be done so seriously, that you wonder ... what the heck are you on?

I first saw this in 1979 on an old rustic theater called "The Arlington" in Santa Barbara, a place that even had the old varandas on the side still there, though they were always empty, and I never saw any chairs or seats sold up there. Some of those spots were used to light shows in a band or two (Peter Gabriel was one in either his first or 2nd tour), and later Gentle Giant.

Seeing this on a DVD, brought back memories. In those days, they brought out a bicycle, a bunch of pipes, a garden hose, and more strange objects than you could think of, and I remember that I had to go outside for a few minutes, because it was getting too nuts and the Unbegun Symphony sent me reeling, as I knew all the pieces, and all of a sudden you see how they are combined, and you go nuts ... try that in rock music you guitarists that know it all!

Several pieces went through a few comedy vignettes and I do not remember them being so spread out in the middle of the music at all, but the Professor, getting progressively drunk, actually makes for a better situation all around, though we did not see this in the early days.

The DVD is a lot of fun to sit through, if you enjoy classical music, and the double bill should be featured with Federico Fellini's Orchestra Rehearsal, for a fun evening of insanity and total chaos, that will have you excited and laughing.

Santa Barbara, did have one thing that was better ... being that the varandas were real, the early thing at the beginning of the concert, was a gag, that had him throw a bunch of bedsheets tied together and he crawls down these to the stage ... right after a huge scream by a woman! As he settled at the stage in front of a microphone, and a minute later after he catches his breath, he goes ... "hey lady, you gotta have guts coming to a concert dressed like that!" ... and you knew the show was on.

This one started out slower and "nicer" but you did not have to wait too long to start laughing and having a good time, with one of the greatest musical comedians ever in America. And this tradition might even go back to Spike Jones, and even before that to the great cartoon music of Carl Stalling and other folks that create massive jingles of music for so many cartoons, where I imagine that Peter Schikele got a lot of his inspirations. Not to mention the idea of taking some of the stuffiness out of the classical music scene ... and remember, above all ... that local musicians are usually the ones playing all this stuff ... so some credit has to be given to some of these folks for their excellent contribution to a great comic.

Getting the DVD of this is nice, if you will never have a chance to see this live ... as Mr. Schikele is not getting on in years, and I'm not sure he will be able to do this a whole lot longer ... and there are not many folks out there that are even trying. But if the chance is there, live is best, and you should see it. It has much more punch than otherwise.

But the DVD is still fun to watch!




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